“Poseidon’s Rage,” the bilateral military exercise with the participation of military forces from Greece and the USA, was held between May 28 and June 11 in many areas throughout Greece.
According to an announcement, F-15Ε jet fighters from the US Air Forces in Europe (USAFE) and their staff transferred to the the military base in Souda, Crete for the exercise.
The exercise was part of the Greek National Defense General National Staff plan for joint exercises with friends and allies.
Poseidon’s Rage second major military exercise with the United States in a month
Just last month, on May 26, Greek and US forces held another joint military exercise, near Xanthi in northern Greece, in the context of the mutual defense cooperation agreement between the two NATO allies.
The final phase of the bilateral U.S.-Hellenic Army exercise Immediate Response/ Centaur 21, part of the huge pan-European exercise “Defender-Europe 2021,” was completed on that day.
It was a tactical exercise at Brigade level, with live fire and with participation of units from Greece and the US, with the contribution of Great Britain in the field of Logistics.
Among the US forces participating in the exercise were the 1-131 Aviation Battalion’s Blackhawks their Alabama National Guard counterparts and the 1-167 Infantry Battalion.
Greece’s Deputy Minister of National Defence Alkiviadis Stefanis who attended the exercise held at the Xanthi Tank Firing Range highlighted the high level of cooperation and the excellent outcome of interoperability of personnel, procedures and assets.
“This training of the Hellenic and American Forces further promotes the long-term defense cooperation between Greece and the United States, inspired by the common desire for a substantial contribution to the security, stability and prosperity of our wider region.
“The will to further strengthen the long-term defense bonds of the two nations remains common and aims to ensure and maintain strong, efficient and interoperable Armed Forces, by consolidating their deep strategic relations,” the Greek minister said.
Largest U.S. Army contingent to train in the region
On his part US Ambassador to Greece Geoffrey Pyatt noted that the exercise prior to Poseidon’s Rage marked the largest U.S. Army contingent to train in the region.
“It highlights our growing cooperation with the Hellenic Army, and specifically with the D Corps headquartered in Xanthi,” Pyatt said.
“The defensive operations we just witnessed build interoperability and operational efficiency between the U.S. and Hellenic Army units as part of the larger multilateral exercise, which includes more than 5,000 troops from 11 countries spread out across 31 training areas.
“Under our updated U.S.-Greece Mutual Defense Cooperation Agreement, the United States is committed to deepening our military-to-military relationship with Greece, to the benefit of both our countries and the NATO Alliance,” the US Ambassador said.
New bill to strengthen US-Greek military alliance
A bill to strengthen the military alliance between the U.S. and Greece, with America helping Greece improve its military with new technology and equipment was introduced in the US Senate on Wednesday of last week, just as the Poseidon’s Rage exercise was concluding.
Titled “U.S.-Greece Defense and Interparliamentary Partnership Act of 2021”, it was initiated by Senator Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) and Senator Bob Menendez (D-N.J.), Chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.
The legislation authorizes expedited delivery of any future F-35 aircraft and delivery of excess defense articles to Greece.
Key Provisions of the legislation include:
Support for Greek Military Modernization:
- Authorizes European Recapitalization Incentive Program (ERIP) assistance to Greece to support Greece’s transition away from Russian-produced military equipment
- Authorizes $1 million per year in International Military Education and Training (IMET) assistance for Greece for FY2022 – 2026
- Expresses the Sense of Congress that the U.S. should provide direct loans to Greece for the procurement of defense articles, defense services, and design and construction services pursuant to the further development of Greece’s military force
Transfer of American Military Equipment to Greece:
- Authorizes expedited delivery of any future F-35 aircraft ordered by Greece
- Requires that the delivery of excess defense articles to Greece be given the same priority as that given other countries and regions
- Requires the Secretary of Defense, with the concurrence of the Secretary of State, to submit a report to Congress on Greece’s defense needs and how the United States will seek to address such needs through transfers of excess defense equipment to Greece
US must bolster defense relationship with Greece
Chairman Menendez released a statement detailing the logic of the legislation, stating “As a reliable NATO ally, Greece plays a critical role in promoting security and stability in the Eastern Mediterranean. The 200th anniversary of Greek independence reminds us of the long history of U.S.-Greece cooperation based on our shared commitment to democratic values, and we must continue building that cooperation in the years to come.”
“In order to ensure that the Eastern Mediterranean remains secure, the U.S. must bolster its defense relationship with Greece by supporting Greece’s efforts to modernize its armed forces. This legislation seeks to strengthen the bonds of friendship between the U.S. and Greece in order to advance our shared values, promote security cooperation, and support a secure Eastern Mediterranean for years to come.”
“This bipartisan legislation will continue to enhance defense cooperation with Greece, a valued NATO ally,” said Senator Rubio. “By extending Foreign Military Assistance to Greece and establishing an interparliamentary partnership with democratic countries in the Eastern Mediterranean, this legislation reaffirms our strong commitment to the region at a time when malign actors are working to undermine international security and stability.”
— ΓΕΕΘΑ (GEETHA)-HNDGS (@hndgspio) June 14, 2021